An investigation into the use of Advanced Placement (AP) funds by officials at Chiles High School found that $10,000 of the funds were used to supplement the salary of the Chiles football coach.
While noting that school officials have broad discretion how to use the funds, the investigative report described the situation with the Chiles High School football coach as particularly concerning.
AP funds are awarded to high schools for each student in each advanced placement course who receives a score of 3 or higher on the College Board Advanced Placement Examination.
The policies in place require each school district to allocate at least 80 percent of the funds for advanced placement instruction.
Chiles High School received $449,238 in AP funds in 2020-21 and evidence shows that approximately $107,777 of this money was used to fund extra duty hourly positions unrelated to AP activities.
The report indicates that Mr. Burgess and others confirm the circumstances by which $10,000 in additional annual compensation was provided to the Chiles High School football coach, Kevin Pettis.
Mr. Pettis interviewed for the position in 2014 and informed Burgess he could not afford to take a pay-cut if he accepted the job. Burgess asked Pettis to bring in his last paycheck so he could compare the difference. Although the exact difference between the pay is unknown, the report indicated it was about a $1,500/month gap ($15,000 over ten months).
Chiles officials admit that the additional compensation provided to Pettis was intended to help bridge this compensation gap. Burgess and the parties involved also told investigators that the money was not simply “free” and that additional work was required.
The reported noted that if the additional duties were performed under such an agreement, the compensation was potentially proper.
But as with other employees hired with AP funds, Chiles High School officials did not track or submit his hours.
However, unlike with other employees, the report found that Pettis was not assigned specific extra duties. Rather, it appears that Coach Pettis was free to select, at his own discretion, any possible extra-duty as he saw fit.
During the year, Petitis claims he performed such tasks as:
- Cleaning, sweeping and maintaining the $1.4M multipurpose field (used for boy’s soccer, girl’s soccer, lacrosse, flag-football, band, drill team, Special Olympics, and PE programs, and various outside programs) (a 1.5/hr. job claims he performed 134 times between August 2020 and June 2021).
- Providing coverage for athletic sporting events of all types (basketball,
baseball, softball, volleyball, wrestling, flag-football, middle school football,
etc.) that occurred on CHS campus (51 events of between 2.5 and 6 hours
- Maintaining the “outside of the weight room year-round” including “keeping the weeds under control” and “trimming bushes and putting down mulch” at his own expense.
- Opening the weight room for use by all athletes (not just his students) both before and after school.
- Moving the COVID-19 disinfectant “fogger” between locker rooms and weight rooms.
- Providing extra coverage for any other event requested by the administration as needed.
- Being on the “on call” list with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office when trespassers are found on the football field.
The report indicated it was not clear whether many of these duties are truly distinct from positions that Pettis was already being compensated to complete.
For example, while Pettis claims that opening the weight room before or after school entitles him to extra compensation, overseeing the weight room is exactly the type of additional duty likely contemplated and included within the supplement Pettis already receives.
Similarly, while claims that his work on the multipurpose field and exterior of the weight room were “maintenance” issues outside of his regular job duties, this is far from clear. District leaders have expressed a firm belief that such activities are regularly undertaken by as either part of their job or as part of their additional supplemental pay.
The report noted that the Leon County Schools policies lacks clear job descriptions for the positions or roles that outline specific expected duties.
Without additional information, the report makes no conclusions as to whether the claimed duties are appropriate for extra duty hourly pay—especially in light of Burgess’s broad discretion.